John knew the threat of his mind trapping itself on causality and logic circles. The grandfather paradox was intrinsic to his very existence in some ways.
Only it was his father, and that man was a promising soldier beneath his command.
Could John do what he needed to? He had to, for he did exist. His father had been made of dedication, sacrificing his life for a woman he'd barely met, but loved for most of his adult life.
Sarah Connor, mother of their savior, was a rally point of morale for so many, yet John had seen in Kyle's eyes that it was far more than theology and dogma.
Kyle looked at that smile in the picture and believed in humanity all over again.
John's stories had been responsible for that. John had learned from so many people how to prime a human's psyche. From the minute he'd met Kyle, John had been careful to imprint the younger man on the mythical woman, grounding her in reality for Kyle by telling select stories.
Kyle never thought to ask why John was so open. It was his comfort, to hold those stories close, to keep that photo John gave him.
John's eyes closed. Soon, it would happen. Skynet would gamble on destroying him at conception, John would retaliate by sending one soldier back, and that soldier would father him.
What would happen if the circle of cause and effect broke? Would John simply cease to be? Would the universe be sundered, with one continuing as it had been, and a new one dominated unresisted by the machines?
The answers came soon, but for now, John beat the questions back, and let himself dwell on Kyle's simpler view of the world, unknowing as to his part in it all. The man would be trying to sleep now, photo in hand, guarding that smile that represented all things human to the soldier.